The BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee (BLSANRC) is tasked with the evaluation of records of birds which would constitute national rarities anywhere in South Africa. The Committee is administered by BirdLife South Africa and made up of volunteer members who are considered experts in the identification of bird species.

If you wish to have a record declared a national rarity, in your private capacity or through SABAP2, a formal submission must be made to the BLSANRC. Details on how to submit a record can be found below. Submissions can either be made via WhatsApp or via this website.

How to submit a sighting of a National Rarity

Option 1: Submit via WhatsApp

We find ourselves in a modern, fast-paced world where technological advances have made it possible to instantly transfer information. The BLSANRC have therefore taken the decision to modernise the submissions and adjudications process for submitting rarities for adjudication by utilizing the instant messaging platform WhatsApp.

If you locate a potential national rarity please follow the following steps to submit your sighting for official adjudication by the BLSANRC:

  1. Locate a bird that may constitute a national rarity for South Africa.
  2. Capture as much information about this bird as you can either through photographs, video, audio recording and/or by taking descriptive notes of the species appearance and behaviour.
  3. Draft a WhatsApp message to 065-232-3634 following the format set out below.
  4. Once the BLSANRC has adjudicated your submission, the final decision will be posted under the adjudications section of this website, as well as on the SA Rare Birds Facebook Group, once every two weeks.

Required format for WhatsApp Submissions below:

  • Observer Name:
  • Species (if known):
  • Date/Time of sighting:
  • Location (name and GPS points if possible):
  • SABAP2 card number (which contains species for vetting):
  • Details about sighting:

Submitters have the option to include photographs/video/audio evidence with their submission and are encouraged to do so, however, in the absence of these supplementary files, a detailed description of the bird will still be considered.  

WhatsApp your sighting to 065-232-3634

Click option 1 for submission formatting guidelines

Option 2: Submit via Online Form

If you are not a WhatsApp user or would prefer to make your submission online, rarity submissions can be sent to the committee by completing the form below.

National Rarities Submission Form

  • Species Information

  • Common name of the bird seen
  • If you know the scientific name please enter it here
  • Observer Details

  • Sighting Details

    Please provide us with as much information about your sighting as possible to assist the NRC with their adjudication of this record
  • SABAP2 is the second Southern African Bird Atlas Project which has been ongoing since 2007. Find out more at http://sabap2.adu.org.za
  • What is the name of the farm dam, sewage works etc. where the sighting took place?
  • Please enter the decimal degree coordinates of the sighting if you have them here
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • What optical aids did you have with you during the sighting? P
  • Please select a score of 1-5 where 1 is good and 5 is poor
  • If it is felt that a description of the conditions in the days leading up to the sighting is relevant please also describe
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.
    Please upload jpeg or png images of no more than 4MB. A maximum of 5 images per submission are allowed.
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: mp3, mp4, wmv, wav, aiff, aac.
    Please upload any video or sound recordings of no more than 40MB that will assist the committee in adjudicating this record. Accepted file formats include mp3, mp4, wmv, wav, aiff, aac
  • Select appropriate option
  • Field description

  • Give as much detail about the appearance and behaviour of the bird as possible, eg. Plumage, soft part coloration, flight pattern, call, habitat, general impression of size and shape (GIZZ) etc. Please ensure that the description of the bird seen is based upon your own observation and not a description from a text book. If the bird was photographed it is particularly important that the photographs accompany this submission, regardless of their quality. Attach any notes written on the spot. Use sketches where relevant. It is important that your own field notes are used and not field guide descriptions. PLEASE NOTE THAT PHOTOGRAPHIC SUBMISSIONS WITHOUT A PROPER DESCRIPTION OF THE SIGHTING WILL PROBABLY NOT BE CONSIDERED.
  • What pontenially confusing species did you eliminate and why? (If not already dealt with above)
  • Sightings of birds at sea only

    Please only complete this section if the bird was observed while at sea
  • e.g. ski boat, large boat, from shore
  • e.g. no wind, light, moderate, strong, gale force
Option 3: Submit via email

If you are not a WhatsApp user and do not want to complete the online form, do not worry. The original rarities form can be downloaded below. Complete it and email it to rarities@birdlife.org.za. We will ensure that your submission reaches the BLSANRC for adjudication as quickly as possible. Please remember to attach any photographs, video or audio files that might assist with the adjudication process.

List of National Rarities for South Africa

National rarities are species which do not regularly occur or have never before been confirmed within the borders of South Africa. To download a list of species which have been recorded as National Rarities within South Africa click the button below.

National Rarities Committee Adjudications

Click the bar below to see a list of the recent final decisions on submissions made to the BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee.

Recent National Rarity Adjudications

National Rarities Committee Final Decisions

May 2018 to March 2019
Species name Scientific name Observer’s name Locality Date of sighting Final Decision
Albatross, Wandering Diomedea exulans Donavin de Jager Balito, KZN 2018/11/11 N
Buzzard, Long-legged Buteo rufinus Reinier Bresser Cape Vidal 2018/01/04 N
Crake, Spotted Porzana porzana Darren Pietersen Acorn Guest Farm MP 2019/01/18 N
Frigatebird, Greater Fregata minor Brendan O’Connell Colchester 2019/02/17 Y
Frigatebird, Greater Fregata minor Martin Potgieter Colchester 2019/02/18 Y
Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel Hugo Voigts Umtentweni, KZN 2018/06/17 Y
Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel Ian Louw St Lucia Estuary 2018/08/07 Y
Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel Dave Rimmer Casuarina, Richards Bay 2018/09/24 Y
Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel Calvin Harris St Lucia Estuary 2018/10/13 Y
Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel Ian Grant Richard’s Bay 2018/12/26 Y
Gannet, Australasian Morus serrator Sandy Sutherland Malgas Island 2018/11/13 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Victor Wilkens Mkhombo Dam 2016/01/16 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Jean-Pierre de la Rey Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/16 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Karin Mitton Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/17 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Deon oosthuizen Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/17 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Dave Ehlers-Smith Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/22 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Dave Bentley Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/27 Y
Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Sydney Zeederberg Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/29 Y
Gull, Franklin’s Leucophaeus pipixcan Simon Fogarty Strandfontein Sewage Works 2018/05/12 Y
Gull, Franklin’s Leucophaeus pipixcan Sandy Sutherland Strandfontein Sewage Works 2018/05/27 Y
Gull, Franklin’s Leucophaeus pipixcan Simon Fogarty Strandfontein Sewage Works 2018/06/14 Y
Gull, Franklin’s Leucophaeus pipixcan Garth Aiston Umgeni River Mouth 2018/12/19 Y
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Tino Herselman Gariep Dam 2018/04/29 Y
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Brendan O’Connell Cape Recife 2019/01/02 Y
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Pieter Uitenweerde Strandfontein Sewage Works 2019/01/07 Y
Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Martin Potgieter Cape St Francis 2019/02/20 Y
Harrier, Western Marsh Circus aeruginosus Craig Whittington-Jones Abe Bailey Nature Reserve 2018/12/07 Y
Harrier, Western Marsh Circus aeruginosus Dave Ehlers-Smith Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/22 Y
Harrier, Western Marsh Circus aeruginosus Sydney Zeederberg Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2018/12/29 N
Heron, Malagasy Pond Ardeola idae Martin Benadie Mziki, Phinda, KZN 2017/06/24 Y
Heron, Malagasy Pond Ardeola idae Stephan Terblanche Mziki, Phinda, KZN 2018/07/07 Y
Oystercatcher, Eurasian Haematopus ostralegus Kevin Westermann St Lucia Estuary 2018/12/15 Y
Oystercatcher, Eurasian Haematopus ostralegus Pieter Vester St Lucia Estuary 2019/01/09 Y
Petrel, Tahiti Pseudobulweria rostrata David Allan & Niall Perrins Durban Pelagic 2018/11/11 Y
Petrel, Tahiti Pseudobulweria rostrata Calvin Harris Durban Pelagic 2018/11/11 Y
Phalarope, Red-necked Phalaropus lobartus Elmarie Brits Kuifkopvisvanger, Velddrif 2018/09/01 Y
Phalarope, Red-necked Phalaropus lobartus Sandy Sutherland Velddrif, WC 2018/09/14 Y
Phalarope, Red-necked Phalaropus lobartus Garret Skead Kliphoek Salt Pans 2019/03/02 Y
Pintail, Northern Anas acuta Hugh Retief Hamburg Town, Keiskamma River Mouth, EC 2018/09/06 Escapee
Pintail, Northern Anas acuta Ian Rijsdijk Hamburg Town, Keiskamma River Mouth, EC 2018/07/10 Escapee
Pipit, Golden Tmetothylacus tenellus Rowan van Tonder Manyoni Private Game Reserve 2019/01/06 Y
Pipit, Golden Tmetothylacus tenellus Richter van Tonder Manyoni Private Game Reserve 2019/01/06 Y
Pipit, Golden Tmetothylacus tenellus Melissa Whitecross Capricorn Loop, KNP 2019/02/14 Y
Plover, Pacific Golden Pluvialis dominica Alan Collett Hamburg River Mouth, EC 2018/04/03 Y
Sandpiper, Baird’s Calidris bairdii Wilma Meiring Van Stadens Resort, PE 2018/10/25 Y
Sandpiper, Baird’s Calidris bairdii Pat Nurse Van Stadens Resort, PE 2018/10/26 Y
Sandpiper, Baird’s Calidris bairdii Alan Collett Van Stadens Resort, PE 2018/10/26 Y
Sandpiper, Baird’s Calidris bairdii Elmarie Brits Van Stadens Resort, PE 2018/10/27 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Ross Hawkins Makuleke Contractual Park, KNP 2018/09/15 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Ross Hawkins Makuleke Contractual Park, KNP 2018/11/11 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Richter van Tonder Polokwane Game Reserve 2018/11/17 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Dawie De Swardt Polokwane Game Reserve 2018/11/19 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Jorrie Jordaan Kabeljous River 2018/12/05 Y
Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Hugh Retief Kabeljous River 2018/12/08 Y
Sandpiper, Pectoral Calidris melanotos Victor Wilkens Marievale Bird Sanctuary 2016/01/16 Y
Sandpiper, Pectoral Calidris melanotos Victor Wilkens Strandfontein Sewage Works 2018/01/25 Y
Sandpiper, Pectoral Calidris melanotos Duncan McKenzie Sunset Dam, KNP 2018/01/29 Y
Sandpiper, Pectoral Calidris melanotos Hugh Retief Mayfield Sewage Works 2018/11/23 Y
Sandpiper, White-rumped Calidris fuscicollis Nicolette Forbes Sappi Stanger 2019/01/08 Y
Sandpiper, White-rumped Calidris fuscicollis Calvin Harris Sappi Stanger 2019/01/08 Y
Shearwater, Short-tailed Ardenna tenuirostris Dominic Rollinson Cape Point Pelagic 2014/08/17 Hold over
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris Dries Laubscher Vaalkop Dam, NW 2018/02/12 Y
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris Derek Engelbrecht Letaba Estates 2018/07/31 Y
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris Richter van Tonder Middle Letaba Dam 2018/09/24 Y
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris Jody de Bruyn Middle Letaba Dam 2018/09/24 Y
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris Victor Wilkens Argyle Dame, Timbavati NR 2018/10/08 Y
Skimmer, African Rhynchops flavirostris John Wesson Letaba Estates 2018/11/23 Y
Stint, Red-necked Calidris ruficollis Jo Balmer Tankatara Salt Works 2017/08/19 N
Teal, Ringed Callonetta leucophrys Werner van Goethem Korsmann’s Bird Sanctuary, GP 2018/06/03 Escapee
Tern, Gull-billed Gelochelidon nilotica Andreas Ranner St Lucia Estuary 2018/12/09 Y
Tern, Sooty Onychoprion fuscatus Victor Wilkens St Lucia Estuary 2016/12/15 Y
Tern, Sooty Onychoprion fuscatus Ian Louw St Lucia Estuary 2018/08/05 Y
Tern, Sooty Onychoprion fuscatus Pieter Vester St Lucia Estuary 2019/09/10 Y
Vulture, Egyptian Neophron percnopterus Duncan McKenzie Transport Dam, KNP 2018/06/15 Y
Wagtail, Citrine Motacilla citreola Dave Brown Summerstrand, PE 2018/04/18 Y
Wagtail, Citrine Motacilla citreola Lynn Craig Summerstrand, PE 2018/04/18 Y
Wagtail, Citrine Motacilla citreola Roddy Furlong Summerstrand, PE 2018/04/18 Y
Wagtail, Grey Moticilla cinerea Johan van Rensburg Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens 2018/11/23 Y
Wagtail, Grey Moticilla cinerea Pieter Vester Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens 2018/11/25 Y
Wagtail, Grey Moticilla cinerea Karin Mitton Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens 2018/11/23 Y
Yellowlegs, Lesser Tringa flaviceps Ryan Birkin Malelane Road, KNP 2019/01/07 N